The topic of the psychological effects of violence is an intriguing topic with much potential, particularly when addressed by a professor of psychology who is also a career military officer, but ultimately that potential is what made On Killing so disappointing.
With verbatim repetitions throughout, it more resembles a collection of essays than a book. The most serious issue though, is the presence of speculative and sweeping assertions, such as the claim that, what is hubristically described as a previously undiscovered aspect of psychology (revulsion to killing), may have been responsible for the election outcomes of wartime Presidents forced to go to the polls immediately after the end of hostilities. To the author's credit he does acknowledge that last assertion might be extending his work too far.
It is clear when evidence is offered, such as frequent references to B.F Skinner's (at best) obsolete work, that Grossman didn't do his homework. Most troubling, however, is the study on which Grossman rests his thesis; S.L.A Marshall's survey of World War II soldiers claiming to show only 25% will fire at an exposed enemy. The soldiers supposedly interviewed later denied ever being asked about their firing rates, a fact which has been known to military psychologists for over twenty years. It would be interesting to buy the physical copy of this book to see the bibliography.
The number and severity of basic errors costs makes the reader wonder if the author knows what he is talking about, and that's a shame given the enormous potential and relevance of this topic. On a positive note, the narration was good.
For anyone in the military, first responder, or their family member this is a guide to PTSD and answers why they may be suffering. To understand the root problem is to find the answer to your question.
I first encountered Lt. Col. Grossman's work the way many people do; as part of the curriculum of my Police Academy. At that time we had an excerpt from this text that was mandatory reading and we were encouraged by our instructors to read the full text.
I believe that this book is a must read for anyone in the military, especially combat arms, and especially important for civilian law enforcement personnel, Lt. Col Grossman's exhaustive study of this subject matter may save many lives if the reader is inclined to apply the concepts herein.
Quite enjoyed it, and Grossman's experience/education affords him great understanding. You can feel his conviction, the emotion in his voice as he reads out his work.
I think the anti-video-game tone is a little tired and old, but he's within his rights to that view, but that's the only real complaint that I can voice in an otherwise inspiring work.
That Dave Grossman read it.
His own emphasis.
Too many to list.
This book is to killing what "On Combat" is to combat. This is the complete book on killing, from killing in war all the way to school shootings. It is life changing because it is so in depth. Statistics are plentiful, so is the psychology and physiology behind it all.